What I’m Reading 3/2/11

A lot of blog authors post links to interesting articles that they’re reading on the internet.  This marks my first endeavor to dip my toe into the waters of sharing my internet wanderings with my readers (all three or four of you).

I just discovered a blog called A Hmong Woman.  It is written by a woman who immigrated from Thailand to the US with her family when she was a young girl.  The blog grabbed my attention because there is a sizable populace of Hmong people here in the Twin Cities and I know little about this particular ethnic group.   For those who are unfamiliar with the Hmong, they are:

…an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity (苗族) in southern China. Hmong groups began a gradual southward migration in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land.

A number of Hmong people fought against the communist-nationalist Pathet Lao during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the United States but also Australia, France, French Guiana, and Canada. Others have been returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. Around 8,000 Hmong refugees remain in Thailand.

Please read the rest of the Wikipedia article for more details.

The author of A Hmong Woman just penned an article about what it’s like to be a mother who is being pressured to continue having  children until a son is born.  Hmong culture favors having sons over daughters and consequently, a fair amount of pressure is applied to Hmong parents until at least one son is in the mix.  She already has two daughters, is satisfied with two children, and refuses to bow to cultural pressures.

She also wrote an article describing tensions she has witnessed between people of the traditional Hmong religion of Shamanism and Christianity.

Someone in the comment thread of the previous article linked to a lengthy but very interesting essay on the history of the introduction of Christianity to the Hmong people.  It explores in detail the kind of cultural ferment and conflict that takes place as two religions—Animism and Christianity—blend together to form a cultural synthesis.  It’s very engaging stuff if you’re a sociology geek like me.  I’m about a quarter of the way through the article and I am looking to finishing it this evening.  (See note below.***)

And now, for the completely frivolous, Time Magazine has posted a series of photos exploring Muammar Gaddafi’s clothing.  Holy cow, does that man have a breadth of fashion taste!  Many of his outfits are quite beautiful, actually.

OK, I’m off to see the wizard.  See ya later…

***PLEASE NOTE: As I was reading more of the article on the introduction of Christianity to the Hmong, I realized that this article is posted on the website of a Christian missionary association whose goal is to spread Christianity among the Hmong.  Nevertheless, the webpage describes the essay as, an article written by a non-Christian Hmong in the USA examining Hmong conversion to Christianity and the cultural conflicts that develop within the Hmong community.”

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~ by timberwraith on March 2, 2011.

2 Responses to “What I’m Reading 3/2/11”

  1. Fictional Hmong characters were portrayed in Clint Eastwood’s last movie, “Grand Torrino”

  2. I saw that movie for the first time a couple of months ago. I didn’t like the movie all that much, but I was intrigued by the Hmong characters.

    Interestingly, MaiBao, the author of A Hmong Woman, mentions that people usually mention the movie Gran Torino when she tells them that she is Hmong.

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